Sunday Metal – Amon Amarth

There are some songs that, when they come on, I have to turn the volume to 11.

Amon Amarth – “Vengeance is My Name”

 

Lies of Gurus

John makes an excellent point about “sport” vs. “reality”.

Firearm User Network

What happens when a skilled competitor used to achieving measurable results in organized competition is held up against widely-accepted tactical gurus that aren’t normally tested?

Kiai Master (black karategi with red belt) offers a 5,000 dollar challenge that he can beat any MMA competitor.

MMA competitor Xu Xiaodong (black shirt and shorts) demonstrates his competition approach a "thunder style" martial arts master.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/world/asia/mma-martial-arts-china-tai-chi.html?referer=android-app://m.facebook.com

Interesting, Xu Xiaodong (the MMA competitor in the second video decisively winning this challenge against the “thunder style” martial arts master) has been lambasted for his victory because it “violates the morals of martial arts.”

Based on observing and participating in the range activity of tens of thousands of military personnel and comparing that to the range activity (training and competition) of competition shooters over the decades, there are direct parallels.

What the gamer does is not real, even though he actually does it.
What the tactician…

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2017-12-15 training log

Today kinda sucked. 🙂

Again, sleep has been poor all week so recovery is not where it needs to be. Plus of course with the cutting diet I just don’t have the gas to go. I was so ready to quit when warming up for front squats, but you just keep going.

One interesting effect lifting has had on me is becoming very in-the-moment. I am a planner, so I think about the future a lot. Granted, my sessions are planned, but in the past I’d care about what I’m doing next: how many sets left? what’s the next exercise? etc. But the past some whiles? I just care about this set, this rep. The session is all there in RepCount, so I don’t need to really think about it — just do it.

And that’s how today went. Just keep doing it. Doesn’t matter what’s next, what matters is what’s right here right now. After you finish this set, you can see what to do next.

The volume is getting to be killer. Next week most everything is 6 sets and 1/fail — it’s going to be intensive.

As for today.

Lunges I continue to hate, but I continue to do because unilateral leg work has been the best thing for my knee health improvement.

Back raises are to be done with an arched back so it’s all about the hamstrings — but it continues to show me how I really need to work on that posterior chain flexibility. I work on it, but it’s just going to take a lot of time.

Front squats I continue to hate, but I continue to accept that down the line I need to make these more a part of my programming because I know getting better here is going to help me all around.

Curls, shrugs, calves – just basic work. Nothing big to report.

Weighed in at 248 this morning — hopefully that’s solid progression and not just a fluke of one measurement. 🙂

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1, Week 3

  • Dumbell Walking Lunge
    • bw x 5e
    • 20 x 20e
    • 20 x 15e
    • 20 x 10e
    • 20 x 8e
    • 20 x 8e
  • 45º Back Raise
    • 20 x 13
    • 20 x 11
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10
  • Front Squat
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 135 x 5
    • 175 x 8
    • 175 x 8
    • 175 x 8
    • 175 x 7
    • 175 x 6
  • Hammer Curl
    • 20e x 10
    • 40e x 10
    • 40e x 9
    • 40e x 8
    • 40e x 7
    • 40e x 7
  • Dumbbell Shrug
    • 45e x 10
    • 70e x 5
    • 90e x 20
    • 90e x 19
    • 90e x 16
    • 90e x 15
    • 90e x 15
  • Stair Calves
    • 20 x 17
    • 20 x 14
    • 20 x 12
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10

2017-12-14 training log

Sleep has been a little off this week — some stressful things (work, etc.) causing me to wake up early. Sigh. I know that’s affecting my recovery. But I’ll be taking some time off work for holiday vacationing, and napping will be in order. 🙂

That said, today was good. Everything continues to go up: weight, reps, sets — thus volume. A little sore at this point, but I attribute it to the sleep loss. It’s been some pretty good work and I’m enjoying this approach. Every time I drive home from the gym I keep thinking about how this affects and will influence my future training programs.

On the weight-loss front, the scale is finally reflecting some change but it’s minor and hard to tell at this point if it’s really progress or just a particular reading on the scale. But I have to remind myself there are other markers of progress — bodyweight is only one. This morning, when I bent over to put my shoes on, it was much easier — my gut is reducing. That’s a great marker! My guess on bodyweight? Given the gym work, the diet supporting it, etc., I may actually have put on a tiny bit of muscle mass, like half a pound? That’s actually possible, and could explain why I’m seeing body transformations but it’s not reflecting on the scale. I just have to remember to trust the process and keep pushing through for more weeks.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1, Week 3

  • Wide-Grip Pulldown
    • 80 x 10
    • 105 x 5
    • 130 x 14
    • 130 x 11
    • 130 x 9
    • 130 x 9
    • 130 x 8
  • Underhand Pulldown
    • 110 x 14
    • 110 x 12
    • 110 x 12
    • 110 x 12
    • 110 x 11
  • Row To Chest
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 9
    • 125 x 9
    • 125 x 8
  • Barbell Upright Row
    • 75 x 15
    • 75 x 11
    • 75 x 10
    • 75 x 9
    • 75 x 8
  • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 165 x 5
    • 190 x 12
    • 190 x 9
    • 190 x 7
    • 190 x 6
    • 190 x 6
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
    • 60e x 14
    • 60e x 11
    • 60e x 11
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
  • Reaching Sit-up
    • 5 x 20
    • 5 x 15
    • 5 x 10
    • 5 x 8

2017-12-12 training log

My head is elsewhere this morning (all good, just weighty). So today was just doing the work. RepCount app tells me it’s time for another set? Do the set and be in that moment doing it. Then rest and my mind can wander if it has to. Just do the work as laid out.

And the session actually went pretty well. Weights are up, reps are up (2/fail), volume is WAY up. So things chugged along pretty nicely and productively. I opted to drop a few warm-up sets where I really didn’t need them. Like I originally did warm-ups on the leg press, but it’s only because I hadn’t used the leg press at the new gym and needed to get a feel for it (the sled is kinda light compared to the old gym, some slightly different mechanics, but it’s a leg press is a leg press is a leg press). So I really don’t need them any more — pretty warm from squats.

Fun thing about calf raises? Really focusing on the stretch at the bottom, and I can tell my calves are improving in flexibility, which is carrying over to some improved relaxness and comfort in the sole of my foot. This is a good thing. Calf work is kinda boring, but this makes me feel like I should work in at least a few sets always just for this benefit.

Anyways… onwards.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1, Week 3

  • High Bar Squat
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 175 x 5
    • 205 x 10
    • 205 x 9
    • 205 x 9
    • 205 x 8
    • 205 x 7
  • Leg Press
    • 335 x 15 (really 145# each side of the sled)
    • 335 x 13
    • 335 x 13
    • 335 x 12
    • 335 x 12
  • Seated Leg Curl
    • 80 x 15
    • 80 x 12
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 10
  • Calves on Leg Press
    • 75 x 18
    • 75 x 14
    • 75 x 14
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 13
    • 75 x 12
  • Cable Tricep Pushdown
    • 40 x 10
    • 60 x 5
    • 85 x 20
    • 85 x 20
    • 85 x 20
    • 85 x 14
    • 85 x 13
  • High Incline Dumbbell Press
    • 50e x 16
    • 50e x 12
    • 50e x 10
    • 50e x 9
    • 50e x 9

2017-12-11 training log

Week 3.

More sets, and now going 2/fail.

I’m enjoying the 2/fail part – but the moar sets? Man, I’m at the gym for 2 hours now. Not the worst thing in the world (great place to be), but geez this is quite the session. And I reckon next week will be even more sets! Curious how mesocycle 2 will be, since that’s with a metabolite focus, so intraset rest is 30-90 seconds – I’ll aim for 60 and keep moving.

Anyways, thigs continue to progress well. Volume is of course increasing. I’m not sore when I start the next session, so volume can continue to increase. I am getting more reps, more everything. So hey, here’s hoping this is good.

One thing that’s not going well? Weight loss. I’m 249-250 depending how I stand on the scale. 😉 Now granted, I’ve basically been on Base 1 so it’s to be expected, but I was hoping for a clean 249 this morning. This will be first week fully on Cut 1, I guess I’ll deal with it — but if I’m not clearly and firmly in the 240’s by next week, I’m going to be irritated. That all said, I know bodyweight is only 1 measure — when I look in the mirror, when I feel how clothing fits, for sure there’s small improvement. So, just gotta trust the process. Who knows — I may wind up only dropping 1 lb./week instead of the 2/week I want.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1

  • Incline Wide Grip Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 135 x 5
    • 175 x 10
    • 175 x 8
    • 175 x 7
    • 175 x 7
    • 175 x 7
  • Incline Dumbbell Flye
    • 30e x 18
    • 30e x 16
    • 30e x 14
    • 30e x 12
    • 30e x 12
  • Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
    • 85e x 9
    • 85e x 7
    • 85e x 6
    • 85e x 6
  • Barbell Bent Over Row
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 115 x 5
    • 140 x 12
    • 140 x 10
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 7
  • Normal Grip Pulldown
    • 110 x 16
    • 110 x 13
    • 110 x 11
    • 110 x 11
    • 110 x 10
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise
    • 20e x 15
    • 20e x 12
    • 20e x 9
    • 20e x 10
    • 20e x 18
  • Slant Board Sit-up
    • bw x 15
    • bw x 12
    • bw x 8
    • bw x 5

Sunday Metal – Motörhead

There are some songs that, when they come on, I have to turn the volume to 11.

Motörhead – “Ace of Spades”

 

2017-12-08 training log

Week 2 comes to an end.

It’s been good. I’ve been enjoying getting a reasonable amount of work, but not feeling so damn beat-up afterwards. Of course, volume is still low and it’s still “3/fail”.

Week 3 is where things get a little more serious – just about everything will be 5 sets, and going to 2/fail — that’s going to be a lot more volume, a lot more relative intensity.

Back to address a previous wondering — is throwing 3 sets of curls on a “random” day meaningful? Well, 3 sets may not be, but 4 quality sets sure seems to do something. I got a light pump, so there’s something going on. 🙂 I reckon as this goes on, it should get better.

All in all, I’m liking the approaches here. I’m taking in as much feedback as I can about how this approach works for me, and how I may work to structure my training in the future. I’m also wondering if I may NOT dive into my own programming just yet, but I am giving thought that if this works well, trying the full set of RP powerlifting templates. I know they’re built with the same underlying philosophies (because it’s RP and Dr. Mike), but obviously a different approach.

On the bodyweight front…

Weight has either stalled or slowed, but either way I’m going to Cut 1 now — and yes, now. No point in waiting for Monday (i.e. the perfect 2-week mark). Looking at the difference between Base 1 and Cut 1? It essentially drops 60g of fat/day (at least on lifting days) – protein and carbs stay the same. But hey, that’s 540 cals/day, which is a substantial cutback. Since Base 1 and Cut 1 are essentially the same in that regard, I’m going to stick with “medium” level.

FWIW, I have intentionally stopped doing extra cardio work. Why? because it gives me another variable to manipulate. When Cut 1 is no longer productive, I may add cardio in to help further disrupt calorie balance (burn more), to see if I can hang on Cut 1 a little longer.

Onwards. Looking forward to next week, ratcheting up the workload. Seriously, 2/fail is going to feel better to me.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1, Week 2

  • Dumbell Walking Lunge
    • bw x 5e
    • 20 x 16e
    • 20 x 14e
    • 20 x 10e
    • 20 x 9e
  • 45º Back Raise
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 9
    • 20 x 9
  • Front Squat
    • bar x 10
    • 95 x 10
    • 135 x 5
    • 175 x 8
    • 175 x 7
    • 175 x 7
    • 175 x 6
  • Hammer Curl
    • 20e x 10
    • 35e x 11
    • 35e x 11
    • 35e x 9
    • 35e x 7
  • Dumbbell Shrug
    • 45e x 10
    • 70e x 5
    • 90e x 18
    • 90e x 17
    • 90e x 15
    • 90e x 14
  • Stair Calves
    • 20 x 14
    • 20 x 14
    • 20 x 12
    • 20 x 11
    • 20 x 10
    • 20 x 10

2017-12-07 training log

Week 2 continues well. I’m getting better at judging a “3/fail” setup.

I’m also finding that setup to be interesting. I mean, typically it’s one of two things: straight sets or a work up. With straight sets you’re doing X sets of Y reps, and it may well be that the first few sets get to Y reps and you aren’t exhausted — you don’t get to Y-n reps until a few sets in. Or with a work-up, the work-up sets aren’t exhausting. But here, each set is taken to some level of failure – so there’s always a good amount of work being done.

I’m finding that each day after I’m a bit sore in the muscle groups worked, but it dissipates by the time I get to the next session of that group. As well, I am NOT feeling as beat-up, which is a great thing! I mean, I might move a little slow due to being sore, but that’s entirely different than moving slow because things are just perpetually aching. So this is good!

Here’s the ultimate thing about all of this: volume. Volume per session. Volume per bodypart. Volume in a week. There’s a lot, and it grows, every session. And volume is how you grow. 🙂 So yes, this all very interesting for me to go through — very different training approach.

Of course, it’s just week 2 of the first mesocycle, so I’m only scratching the surface. 🙂

That said…

I continue to enjoy starting with back work, and having back work that’s really quality. There’s a lot more lat emphasis on this program right now, and I find that kinda cool — looking forward to results.

Row to Chest remains a bit awkward for me, but I’m not sweating actually hitting the nipple-line, just striving for that bar path. It’s certainly hitting my upper back more than my lats this way, which is ultimately the point.

One thing I thought about today while close-grip benching was the lack of arm pain. I continue to be pain free, and I’m very happy about that. At this point, I’m attributing it to the post-workout work I do, which is some stretching, but mostly a lot of foam rolling with emphasis on my back and shoulder area.

I also am finding a better bench setup these days too. Better equipment certainly helps. I’m setting my feet a little further back — not extreme tuck like some people get, but it’s further back for me. I don’t have a picture or video, but it feels like my heels are just behind my knees (relative to a line perpendicular to the ground). I’m getting tighter, better drive, and for sure the butt stays on the bench.

The other thing is my bodyweight.

I believe I’ve plateaued, which stands to reason on the Base template. I’m going to move to Cut 1 now, but I’m not 100% sure if I’ll do days as medium or heavy. Reason is, with the Physique templates, they say “if you do X sets in a workout, count it as this type of day”. Well, my sets are increasing with each session due to the way the templates work. So it may well be that I’m to go heavy on the Cut 1 template, but I don’t want that to be more cals than I’m eating now (I’ve been doing Base as medium). So, gotta look at the numbers, but regardless of the details, it’s time to move along to keep the weight-loss going.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1, week 2

  • Wide-Grip Pulldown
    • 80 x 10
    • 105 x 5
    • 125 x 13
    • 125 x 12
    • 125 x 10
    • 125 x 8
  • Underhand Pulldown
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 12
    • 105 x 11
    • 105 x 10
  • Row To Chest
    • 120 x 9
    • 120 x 8
    • 120 x 8
  • Barbell Upright Row
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 11
    • 75 x 10
    • 75 x 9
  • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 165 x 5
    • 185 x 12
    • 185 x 8
    • 185 x 7
    • 185 x 6
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
    • 60e x 12
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 9
  • Reaching Sit-up
    • bw x 15
    • bw x 15
    • bw x 10

2017-12-05 training log

Today went better than last week – everything felt more comfortable.

High bar squats got a slight adjustment: instead of being atop my traps, the bar was just behind the peak but resting atop my shoulders. Much more comfortable. Also worked more at elbows in and down, to make a better shelf. But all in all, it moved better.

And really, same can be said for everything today: it just moved better. Again, acclimation, even tho more weight and more sets. It’s still 3/fail tho. Can’t wait for next week and 2/fail. 🙂

I am really liking the seated leg curls. This is the first time I’ve used such a machine, and I’m getting some work in my hamstrings that I never got out of a lying leg curl.

Despite the fact it doesn’t feel like I’m getting a lot of work per-session, the fact that later in the day and then the next day I’m certainly tighter and sore in the muscles worked, that’s a decent sign. Hopefully that keeps up every week, as indicator that I’m getting more stress and NOT adapting.

Anyways, moving along.

RP Physique, Mesocycle 1. Week 2

  • High Bar Squat
    • bar x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 175 x 5
    • 200 x 10
    • 200 x 8
    • 200 x 8
    • 200 x 7
  • Leg Press
    • sled x 10
    • 135 x 10
    • 225 x 5
    • 325 x 15 (really, 140# of plates on each side of the sled)
    • 325 x 12
    • 325 x 12
    • 325 x 12
  • Seated Leg Curl
    • 80 x 12
    • 80 x 10
    • 80 x 11
    • 80 x 11
  • Calves on Leg Press
    • 75 x 14
    • 75 x 14
    • 75 x 13
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 12
    • 75 x 12
  • Cable Tricep Pushdown
    • 40 x 10
    • 60 x 5
    • 85 x 20
    • 85 x 20
    • 85 x 15
    • 85 x 12
  • High Incline Dumbbell Press
    • 45e x 15
    • 45e x 13
    • 45e x 12
    • 45e x 11